RailRiders Winter Weatherpants
Winter in southern New England is typically cold and blustery rather than truly frigid. Breaking trail through a foot of early winter powder quickly overwhelms the breathability of trousers with a waterproof/breathable layer (such as Gore-Tex) and creates the “boil-in-a-bag” effect, and softshell trousers are only marginally better. Belmont, Massachusetts-based RailRiders has hit upon a “just right” solution with their Winter Weatherpants, though their utility is certainly not limited to the northeastern United States! The 4-ply Taslanized Supplex nylon construction blocks both radiative cooling and wind and allows moisture to escape while breaking trail and during long uphill slogs. The knees and backside are reinforced with a Cordura panel for durability, making glissades a joy!
The Winter Weatherpants feature seven 2″ belt loops and two low profile zippered (with ykk zippers, natch) back pockets and three front pockets, one zippered for security. The design includes a gusseted crotch and a taped (slotted/Canadian/nato) button closure. The cuffs include a hook-and-loop closure opposite an elasticated segment. This means snowshoers could theoretically go gaiter-less while out in these trousers, but sans gaiters the cuffs run the risk of icing if wetted.
RailRiders Winter Weatherpants are made in China. Color options include black and khaki; size options run from small to xxl with a regular or 30″ inseam. At 5′6″ with a 30″ waist the small, 30″ inseam version fits me nicely and leaves room to tuck in a base- and a mid-layer. msrp is $ 99.00 with periodic deals made available to those on the RailRiders mailing list.
Bison Designs Last Chance Heavy Duty belt
Bison Designs Last Chance Heavy Duty belt fills a slot between a structureless polypropylene and a full-on riggers belt. That is to say, while it cannot handle the weight of a holstered gun and should not be used to rappel, it will support a camera pouch and/or a sheathed multitool without flipping. The belt is constructed of 1.5″ doubled-over scuba webbing and fixes via lacing the hook portion of a hook-and-loop closure through an aluminum buckle.
Bison Designs manufacturers a version of the Last Chance Heavy Duty belt for RailRiders with their company name stamped on the buckle. The combination is a good one as the Last Chance Belt integrates well with the Winter Weatherpants. My one caution would be that the large buckle can get in the way of pack hipbelt buckles. Otherwise, say for outdoor workers not using a pack or for recreational users using a beltless pack or one with a simple webbing waistbelt, the Last Chance belt comes with my highest recommendation.
The Last Chance belt is made in the United States. msrp is $28.00.